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Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalinby Timothy Snyder
Synopses & Reviews
Wendy Lowerand#8217;s stunning account of the role of German women on the World War II Nazi eastern front powerfully revises history, proving that we have ignored the reality of womenand#8217;s participation in the Holocaust, including as brutal killers. The long-held picture of German women holding down the home front during the war, as loyal wives and cheerleaders for the Fand#252;hrer, pales in comparison to Lowerand#8217;s incisive case for the massive complicity, and worse, of the 500,000 young German women she places, for the first time, directly in the killing fields of the expanding Reich.
Hitlerand#8217;s Furies builds a fascinating and convincing picture of a morally and#8220;lost generationand#8221; of young women, born into a defeated, tumultuous postand#8211;World War I Germany, and then swept up in the nationalistic fervor of the Nazi movementand#8212;a twisted political awakening that turned to genocide. These young womenand#8212;nurses, teachers, secretaries, wives, and mistressesand#8212;saw the emerging Nazi empire as a kind of and#8220;wild eastand#8221; of career and matrimonial opportunity, and yet could not have imagined what they would witness and do there. Lower, drawing on twenty years of archival and field work on the Holocaust, access to post-Soviet documents, and interviews with German witnesses, presents overwhelming evidence that these women were more than and#8220;desk murderersand#8221; or comforters of murderous German men: that they went on and#8220;shopping spreesand#8221; for Jewish-owned goods and also brutalized Jews in the ghettos of Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus; that they were present at killing-field picnics, not only providing refreshment but also taking their turn at the mass shooting. And Lower uncovers the stories, perhaps most horrific, of SS wives with children of their own, whose female brutality is as chilling as any in history.
Hitlerand#8217;s Furies will challenge our deepest beliefs: genocide is womenand#8217;s business too, and the evidence can be hidden for seventy years.
Book News Annotation:
Noting that concentration camps were not where most of the victims of Nazism and Stalinism died, Snyder (history, Yale U.) investigates the murder of 14 million people by Nazi and Soviet regimes at killing sites in the "bloodlands," the geographic region between Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union, encompassing the Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, the Baltics, and western Russia between 1933 and 1945. These killings were part of political mass murder and Soviet and Nazi policy but were not casualties of the war between them, and many occurred before World War II began. These include killings Stalin directed at Soviet Ukraine and during the Great Terror; the shooting and gassing of Jews in the Soviet Union, Poland, and the Baltic States; and the mass starvation of Soviet prisoners of war and the inhabitants of Leningrad. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A prize-winning historian recasts the history of modern Europe around its central catastrophe: the fourteen million people killed by totalitarian regimes in the lands between Hitler and Stalin
A revelatory new history ofand#160;the role of German women in the Holocaust, not only as plunderers and direct witnesses, but as actual killers on the eastern front during World War II.
Americans call the Second World War and#147;The Good War.and#8221; But before it even began, Americaand#8217;s wartime ally Josef Stalin had killed millions of his own citizensand#151;and kept killing them during and after the war. Before Hitler was finally defeated, he had murdered six million Jews and nearly as many other Europeans. At warand#8217;s end, both the German and the Soviet killing sites fell behind the iron curtain, leaving the history of mass killing in darkness.
Bloodlands is a new kind of European history, presenting the mass murders committed by the Nazi and Stalinist regimes as two aspects of a single history, in the time and place where they occurred: between Germany and Russia, when Hitler and Stalin both held power. Assiduously researched, deeply humane, and utterly definitive, Bloodlands will be required reading for anyone seeking to understand the central tragedy of modern history.
About the Author
Timothy Snyder is Professor of History at Yale University. He is the author of The Reconstruction of Nations, Sketches from a Secret War, and The Red Prince. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.
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